Why we cycle: Andrea Haley

What do you do and where are you based?

I live in Derby. I am an Arts Co-coordinator at Royal Derby Hospitals, Community Dance Artist and registered Dance Movement Therapist. I am a grandma to two girls, Ava and Evelyn. I am in a community choir, enjoy zumba, reading and dancing.

How long have you cycled for?

I remember getting a bike for Christmas when I was around nine years old.

I grew up on a large council estate in the North East of England. Having a bike meant freedom.  I could now leave Eston behind and explore the new lands of the neighbouring council estates and beyond.  One of my favourite memories is free wheeling down Eston Hills on my bike with my Dad. Feet lifted off the pedals, legs spread apart, wind, whooping and speed!  This memory fills me with smiles.

I joined the Navy at 17, became a single mum at 20 years old and cycling fell out of my world.  Apart from the occasional day hiring a bike on the High Peak Trail or going round the BMX track with a boyfriend, I didn’t really get back into cycling until I was 41 years old. This coincided with moving from Cromford to Derby, the latter being much flatter terrain, and wanting to impress a guy who cycled in the city.

Why do you cycle?

On a day to day basis I cycle to get around, it is my means of transport. No queuing in traffic to get to work,  parking costs etc. But cycling goes beyond being able to get around the city. I cycle because it is freedom: I don’t need to rely on anyone to get anywhere. Cycling fits with my values, my moral compass and who I am as a person. We are living in a climate emergency. We all need to look at travelling differently within our cities and cycling is a sustainable way of getting around. I am extremely worried about the future of the planet and what is in store for my grandchildren. By choosing not to drive and opting to cycle I know I am doing what I can in terms of travel and CO2 emissions.   As I get older I want to stay as fit and healthy as I can, getting on my bike, instead of going from couch to car, is part of my healthy lifestyle. Cycling is the best. The question is ‘Why wouldn’t you cycle?’

Where is your favourite place to cycle in Derby?

Anywhere!

What is your best piece of kit?

My pannier and basket. It’s the equivalent of carrying two small backpacks. Part of my job is delivering dance and movement workshops to older people. People are always surprised when I tell them that I’ve brought all of my props, speaker, and a change of clothes on my bike.

What do you think could help more girls and women to cycle?

More cycling infrastructure within our cities.  More workplace incentives and employers actively promoting cycling to work schemes, perhaps signing up to a cycling climate change charter. Providing showers and changing rooms within the workplace.  

A female mentorship scheme to support women cyclists in gaining confidence on the roads. Linking female cyclists up with other female cyclists who may already be cycling to the same area for work.

The council really investing in park and ride schemes and making our inner city car free.

How do you feel when you cycle in three words?

Invincible, connected, superior!

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